[[quoteright:246:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/figura_alatriste_tapa_8223.gif]]
[[caption-width-right:246:¡No queda sino batirnos!]]

-->''"He was not the most honest of men, nor the most pious one, but he was a brave man."''\\
- '''Íñigo de Balboa''', ''The Adventures of Captain Alatriste''

''The Adventures of Captain Alatriste'' is a series of HistoricalFiction novels written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte starring a Spanish soldier-turned-mercenary-turned-sword-for-hire, the titular Diego Alatriste y Tenorio (who was never an actual Captain in the Army, [[NonIndicativeName but was called that way]]). Alatriste is a veteran of the [[EightyYearsWar Flanders War]] that lives badly in 17th-century Europe, looking for shady jobs and sometimes being lead to international conspiracies involving the Spanish Crown and the Inquisition. At the same time, Alatriste trains a squire, Íñigo de Balboa, the orphan child of an old friend; Íñigo serves as the narrator of the story. The series includes adventures and noir in a well-researched historical setting.

Seven books have been published so far, with two more in the making:

* ''Captain Alatriste'' (1996): In 1623, Alatriste is trusted to take care of the young Íñigo while he awaits in Madrid to rejoin his division on Flanders. In order to make money, he accepts an offer to kill two English travellers that are about to arrive on the city, but the situation soon spirals our of control.
* ''Purity of Blood'' (1997): Alatriste is hired by a family of ''conversos'' (descendants of Jews converted to Catholicism) to rescue their daughter from a convent she was forced to join, while poor Íñigo gets into a conflict with UsefulNotes/TheSpanishInquisition.
* ''The Sun over Breda'' (1998): It's 1625 and both Alatriste and Íñigo as his squire travel to the front on Flanders, as an offensive is planned over the Dutch-held city of Breda. Looked down by some fans for its UnexpectedGenreChange, as it's more of a war story with little resemblance to the swashbuckling theme of the first two books.
* ''The King's Gold'' (2000): Arriving in Seville from Flanders, Alatriste is hired to lead a RagtagBunchOfMisfits against a docked Flemish ship that is suspected of smugling Indian gold out of Spain.
* ''The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet'' (2003): Back in Madrid, Alatriste begins a relationship with the famous theatre actress María de Castro, but soon becomes enbroiled in a fight with a mysterious cavalier for the love of the actress and a wider conspiracy against the Spanish Monarchy.
* ''Corsairs of the Levant'' (2008): Alatriste and Íñigo join the galleys of the Levant in their struggle against the Ottoman Turks, leading them to an adventure all over the Mediterranean. (Published in English as ''Pirates of the Levant''.)
* ''The Bridge of the Assassins'' (2011): Christmas 1627. Alatriste must join forces with an old enemy in a cover mission to kill the Dogue of Venice.
* ''Alquézar's Revenge'' (unreleased)
* ''Mission in Paris'' (unreleased): Presumed to be set against the backdrop of the 1643 Battle of Rocroi [[spoiler: and culminate with Alatriste's death]]

There is also a movie, starring Creator/ViggoMortensen, that tries to condense the nine plots all at once.

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* TheAce: The Count of Guadalmedina, though his presence in the plot is usually fairly small. Still, he is handsome, rich, noble, cultured, popular, witty, and a good enough swordsman to give even Alatriste pause. He could easily be the protagonist of a more romantic and idealistic swashbuckling tale.
** In terms of skill, Alatriste is the best swordman in the series, to the extent that he can hold his own against five [[EliteMook Elite Mooks]] at once and even defeat Malatesta in a few moves after battling an entire night. He only gets in danger when outnumbered or disabled, and still he always finds a way out.
* AgentPeacock: Ginesillo in ''The King's Gold'', who is also acknowledged to be homosexual.
* AmbiguouslyEvil: [[NonIndicativeName Angélica]] de Alquézar. While it's clear that she is into her uncle's machinations, how of it remains unknown.
** Gualterio Malatesta counts as well. He is insistently presented as a sneaky, malicious, and even sadistic character, but his goals aren't much more evil than Alatriste's, as he is another hired gun who simply follow what his recruiter (who most of the time happens to be the BigBad) orders him.
* AntiHero: Alatriste is a hired sellsword desperately clinging to his broken and battered moral compass.
* AristocratsAreEvil: And the lower nobles the worst of all. The Count of Guadalmedina is an exception [[spoiler:until the end of ''The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet''.]]
* BadassMustache: Just look at the image, damn it! Iñigo laments in an aside his lifelong inability to grow one nearly so magnificent as Alatriste.
** The Count-Duke of Olivares sports a fiery mustache too (as [[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Conde-Duque_de_Olivares.jpg he did]] in RealLife).
* BeardOfEvil: Alquézar.
* BeenThereShapedHistory: Meeting several historical characters, taking a part in historical events.
* BigDamnHeroes: Quevedo at the end of the first book.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Angélica. Subverted in that Íñigo does see her as the RichBitch she is, but he is too much in love to do anything.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Everybody, starting with the titular character and working up and down. Much of Iñigo Balboa's CharacterDevelopment involves his growing disillusioned with the morals and ideals of the age.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: Averted in ''The King's Gold'', where Campuzano survives the raid with just some flesh wounds.
* [[spoiler:BolivianArmyEnding:]] In the movie, and confirmed by WordOfGod for the books. It's just that the author has not bothered to write the scene down yet.
* CatchPhrase: ''¡No queda sino batirnos!'' (''There's no choice but to fight!'') Though this isn't Alatriste's catch phrase (his is depressed silence), but that of Don Francisco de Quevedo, one of Alatriste's closest friends. Though if Quevedo's saying it, Alatriste is probably thinking it.
* [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Country]]: The novels portray 17th-century Spain in all its military, literary and artistic glory... and all its political, economical and moral misery.
* CombatPragmatist: Everybody. Alatriste particularly makes a point of teaching Iñigo all the dirty tricks.
* CompressedAdaptation: The movie is mostly a cut-and-paste job of elements from all the books. Which means that unlike in the individual books (which all had interesting plots), we don't actually get an engaging plot, just a selection of set pieces (it's as if the movie was a series of illustrations for the novels).
* CorruptBureaucrat / CorruptChurch: Often alluded to as two of the chief reasons behind the decline of the Spanish Empire. Olmedilla, in ''The King's Gold'', is noted for ''not'' being a corrupt bureaucrat, which makes him a kind of rara avis.
* CulturedWarrior: What Alatriste spends most of the series trying to make Iñigo into. As the boy is determined to follow the good Captain into the life of a soldier, Alatriste gets him a worthy if somewhat haphazard education in the classics as well as in Latin and Greek, so Iñigo has prospects beyond those of a poverty-stricken veteran. From Iñigo's digressions about his own life after the series, it took and he ended up doing rather well for himself.
* CynicalMentor: Alatriste has shades of this in regard to Iñigo, not out of cruelty or ill-disposition, but simply because of the CrapsackWorld setting. One of the most emotional moments happens in [[spoiler:''The Sun over Breda'', when he slits a wounded enemy soldier's throat in the aftermath of a battle. Iñigo calls him out on it; Alatriste quietly replies that he's merely put the man out of his misery, and that ''they'll be lucky if they get the same treatment when their moment comes''.]]
* DashingHispanic
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: Complete with spies, masked conspirators and plenty of backstabbing.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Someone insulted you? Kill him! You think someone insulted you? Kill him! You ''pretend'' someone insulted you because someone else paid you to kill the first someone? ''¡No queda sino batirnos!'' Welcome to an honor culture with an overabundance of poverty-stricken veterans.
* EdutainmentShow: The series was created by the author to teach his teen daughter about the Spanish Golden Age, with each book being devoted to one aspect of it. In the published books, these are respectively Politics, Religion, the Flanders War, Economics, Theatre, the low-scale ForeverWar against the Turks in the Mediterranean and the long time love/hate relationship between Spain and the Republic of Venice.
* EightyYearsWar
* ElSpanishO: The Moor Aixa Ben Gurriat is forced to change his name to the hispanicized "Gurriato" upon joining the Spanish navy.
* EvenEvilHasStandards / WouldntHurtAChild: Despite being portrayed as a thoroughly rotten guy, Malatesta [[spoiler: can't bring himself to kill 13-year-old Iñigo Balboa. He's also visibly remorseful about handing Iñigo over to the [[UsefulNotes/TheSpanishInquisition Inquisition]]. Iñigo's age also saves him from torture at the hands of the inquisitors (it doesn't save him from a harsh interrogation, though).]]
* EvilCounterpart: Gualterio Malatesta is basically Alatriste without his ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules part.
* FaceOfAnAngelMindOfADemon: Constantly invoked by Íñigo when thinking about Angélica.
* FamousAncestor: A joke in the later books reveals that Alatriste is a grand-nephew of [[DonJuan Don Juan Tenorio]] (the author had in fact chosen Tenorio as Alatriste's mother's family name in homage to Don Juan, when he was writing the first book).
** Note that in the original legend (and especially Zorrilla's play ''Don Juan Tenorio'', which is the one most Spaniards are familiar with), Don Juan is just as famous as a duelist as a, er, "seducer", so this also works as a sort of InTheBlood for Alatriste.
* FilleFatale: Angélica de Alquézar, becoming also a RichBitch as she grows up.
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Íñigo Balboa y Aguirre, the young Basque squire of Alatriste, is the first person narrator of each of the books. They're written as if his memoirs from late in life, so he regularly hints at later events including various characters' eventual deaths and his own career following in Alatriste's footsteps as a soldier.
* FoeRomanceSubtext: Angélica and Íñigo.
* FriendlyEnemy: Gualterio Malatesta, to a surprisingly sympathetic extent. He sees Alatriste as a familiar WorthyOpponent, and genuinely believes (with some accuracy) that they could have been high friends in other circustances.
* HiddenBadass: Alatriste is a man of few words in the Spanish underworld of the time, where bragging and boasting are the norm. Some make the mistake of taking him for a coward, and pay dearly for it.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Lots of them.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Mostly the Count-Duke of Olivares. Others, too.
** Highly debatable in the case of Olivares: he's a shrewd, ruthless politician, but his goals aren't particularly villainous and he never goes out of his way to do anything evil. Alquézar and Bocanegra, on the other hand, are straight examples.
* HitmanWithAHeart: Alatriste.
* HistoricalInJoke: ''The Sun over Breda'' has one about how [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Surrender_of_Breda this painting]] was made (and why Alatriste ''does not'' appear on it).
* {{Homage}}: The whole series can be read as Pérez Reverte's homage to the genre of historical adventure, especially AlexandreDumas and [[Literature/AubreyMaturin PatrickO'Brien]], but with a DarkerAndEdgier twist. It also reads as a PerspectiveFlip, since much of that literature has traditionally been written by British or French authors and tends to portray Spaniards as the bad guys.
* HomageShot: In the movie, the scene of the surrender of Breda is modelled after Velazquez's famous painting.
* HonorBeforeReason: Many, many times.
* ImprovisedWeapon: Swashbucklers use their cape both as a weapon (throwing it over the opponent's sword to destabilize him or over his head) and as a shield. This is historically accurate.
* InNameOnly: [[WordOfGod According to Reverte]], he was once approached by two Hollywood execs who wanted to do a film adaptation with poor Alatriste being left in the gutter while [[OriginalCharacter his amoral girlfriend]] [[FlatWhat rose up to become]] [[YouFailHistoryForever Queen of Spain.]]
* KingIncognito: The point around which two of the books revolve: [[spoiler: the Englishman that Alatriste is hired to kill in ''Captain Alatriste'' is the Prince of Wales and future king Charles I of England travelling in disguise, and Alatriste's rival for the actress' love in ''The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet'' is none other but Philip IV of Spain.]]
* MeaningfulName: Possibly for Inquisitor Emilio Bocanegra, whose last name means "black mouth." He is a rather vile and hateful man whose mere word can damn a person to torture and death, and is introduced ordering Alatriste to murder someone he had only been hired to scare off.
** Alatriste means literally "sad wing", which may be a reference to his depressing (but accurate) life philosophy.
** Malatesta means "bad head" in Italian, which defines most of his character.
** In a funnier light, Bartolo Cagafuego's last name means literally "fire shitter", which references his [[PhonyVeteran spirited boasts]].
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: "Your king is your king" (even if he is a jackass).
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: María de Castro is a rather obvious stand-in for the real actress [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Calderon María Calderón]] with a few changes for story purposes. Ironically, the book mentions María Calderón as her sucessor in the Spanish theatre.
* NonActionGuy: PlayedForDrama with Olmedilla. While not being a fighter like the rest of the party, he takes part in the Niklaasbergen raid to ensure the plan goes the right way [[RealityEnsues and gets swiftly killed]].
* NotSoDifferent: Both Alatriste and Malatesta invoke this to each other.
* PoliticallyCorrectHistory: The series makes a point of averting this.
* PrecisionFStrike: Several instances. It's also pointed out in the first book that sailors learn insults phonetically in other languages to shout at the opponent before the expected BoardingParty.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: The Moor Gurriato.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: In ''Corsairs of the Levant'' [[spoiler: Alatriste kills two soldiers in his own unit without second thought because he walks in on them trying to rape a woman. Note that he stabs the guys without warning, and that this happens while the unit is conducting an unprovoked raid against said woman's tribe.]] An example of the BlackAndGrayMorality of the series.
* RunningGag: Angélica constantly mispronounces the name Alatriste, calling him Batistre or El Triste, although she presumably knows well his name.
* ScaryBlackMan: Campuzano in ''The King's Gold'', complete with a {{BFS}}.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Alatriste is paid to slay two men but refuses when the first one he is about to kill begs him to spare ''his companion''. This makes him an enemy of the people who hired him.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Alatriste is strongly implied to be this to some extent, [[spoiler: up to the point of having suicidal tendencies.]]
* ShownTheirWork
* {{Sidekick}}: Alatriste initially tries to keep young Iñigo Balboa out of his dangerous and shady business, but soon gives up.
* SinisterMinister: Inquisitor Bocanegra.
* SuspiciouslySmallArmy: In the movie. All we see of the battle of Rocroi is about a dozen Spanish foot soldiers and twice as many Frenchmen on horse.
* {{Swashbuckler}}
* TheCavalierYears
* TheFilmOfTheBook: ''Alatriste'' (2006), starring Creator/ViggoMortensen.
* TheManBehindTheCurtain: Inquisitor Bocanegra. Literally: he is introduced in his first scene by emerging from behind a curtain in the room Alatriste is being hired as a hitman.
* UsefulNotes/TheSpanishInquisition: Of course.
* TheSquad: The focus of the action in ''The Sun over Breda''.
* TorosYFlamenco: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] and [[ShownTheirWork done correctly]]. The second book opens with a 17th century historically accurate bullfight that does not look like modern ones in the least.
** Despite gypsies having arrived in Spain by that time, even ''The King's Gold'' (which is set in Seville) is historically accurate in lacking any mention of flamenco.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Since they are told by a "contemporary" narrator, the original books are in Old Spanish, often with words that are rare or no longer used today, and 17th-century slang popping out constantly in the dialogue. Not to mention the parts written in other languages without translation provided, such as Portuguese or even Germanía - an argot of the criminal underworld that ''has been dead for centuries''. As expected, the series is a pain in the ass for professional translators.
* WarIsHell: Often alluded to, this trope takes the stage in ''The Sun over Breda'' and ''Corsairs of the Levant''. All Iñigo can manage to say of it when asked later is that it's "dirty and gray."
* WarriorPoet: Don Francisco de Quevedo, literally and despite a lame foot. Iñigo as narrator, as well, especially given his regular digressions about his life after Alatriste's death where he is almost as capable a swordsman and soldier as Alatriste, but more fortunate in politics and promotion.
* YoungFutureFamousPeople: Velazquez is first introduced as a young painter just arrived from Seville that Quevedo likes to mock.

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